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Beers with Mandy: Local Ingredient Brewing in Upstate New York at Arrowood Farms

“To me, ‘saison’ has lost its association to agriculture much the same way all of the beer has over time,” says Matt Schulze, head brewer at Arrowood Farm Brewery.

He brews on an actual farm surrounded by natural beauty about 15 miles outside of New Paltz, New York so naturally agriculture stays on his mind. However, the 48-acre farm that the brewery sits on is not the only one the team at Arrowood is concerned with, as of mid-2020 one hundred percent of the ingredients used at the brewery are sourced from within the state. It’s been a goal of the brewery since it opened in 2016, and in 2019 they were nearly there with 94 percent of ingredients grown in NY.

“We are fortunate to exist here where there is such diversity in growing zones and microclimates,” says Schulze, “and that enough farmers and maltsters here have committed to taking part in the brewery ingredient supply chain.”

Though everything is sourced from these farms, the ingredients don’t necessarily end up in a farmhouse style beer. Arrowood has a line up of IPAs, lagers, porters, and stouts to keep craft beer fans happy, but about once a month they brew up something a little more wild for their farmhouse program.

Schulze says the difference lies in the philosophy behind each recipe, “Style-wise, I think it is a matter of control; farmhouse brewers are more willing to let the ingredients determine the characteristics of a batch of beer in a way that honors their true character.” He adds that more commercial styles like porter or IPA are about controlling ingredients and bending them to fit an existing mold.

I made a visit to Arrowood and after driving through the lush Mohonk Preserve to get there, I was ready for something a little wild in that Farmhouse category and Starling, Arrowood’s Brett Farmhouse ale with Sterling hops.

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